NEW ORLEANS – In the first 10 games of the season, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch has used five different starting lineups. In the last seven games he’s only used one – Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. The Wolves are 4-3 with this starting lineup and they have the best net score of any team in the NBA who have played for at least 25 minutes together, according to data from NBA.com.
“I think it works extremely well…” said Finch. “We have three dominant players with the ball who are all extremely skilled and you need guys who can play without the ball and have a high impact. Patrick and Vando are doing just that. Then they step up and make timely plays.”
Net score is the number of points scored per 100 possessions minus the number of points awarded per 100 possessions.
The roster fitted in well again on Monday with Beverley and Vanderbilt leading the charge defensively and providing some rushing play as Edwards and Russell struggled to find their shooting rhythm. Beverley and Edwards had three interceptions apiece while Vanderbilt had two. Vanderbilt had seven of his 11 rebounds off the offensive glass and neither player finished with a plus-minus in the starting XI below 16 (Russell).
“It was tough at first, the coach was trying to figure out who could play with each other obviously, then we just – Vando, D-Lo, Ant, Kat – I don’t think nobody was considering that at starting the season, but we put it in place, “said Beverley.” We trained and it worked. … I give the coach a lot of credit for making this adjustment. “
Wolves’ schedule gets a little tougher going forward, with games against Miami, Charlotte and Philadelphia ending the week. The lineup will go through its most difficult series of matches.
McDaniels avoids trouble
Forward Jaden McDaniels had another solid game coming off the bench with 10 points and eight rebounds. Perhaps the most important statistic for McDaniels is in the foul column – one.
McDaniels has struggled to avoid serious fouls this season.
It has eased off a bit since joining the bench, but he won six in the win over Memphis on Saturday.
When asked what it was like to live a game with one foul, McDaniels replied, “Great.
“Just being able to control what I can control,” he continued. “Some nights I might get hissed more than others, so watching a movie about my fouls and everything is something I do and continue to stay strong in defense. For example, not looking for fakes and little things like that.”
Edwards knee hurts, but keeps playing
Finch said one of the reasons for Edwards’ lackluster night (6 on 16 shooting) was that he “received a blow to the knee early.”
“I was a little worried about it,” Finch said. “So he didn’t have too much juice at the start. He said he felt a little better at half-time.”
Edwards was able to play in the second half and that didn’t seem to be a concern for Finch in the future.